NCAA MLAX: Defending champion UNC headed to Albany

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – After earning eligibility for the postseason with an Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) title win over Notre Dame last week, the unseeded North Carolina Tar Heels men’s lacrosse team will start defense of their NCAA title against No. 8 seed Albany.

The Tar Heels at 8-7 will travel to Upstate New York to face an equally dynamic and offensively talented Great Danes (14-2) squad on Saturday.

Unseeded in the tournament for the second straight year and the third time in the last four, North Carolina looks to peak at the right time while facing the America East champion who suffered only two losses on the season – one-goal shortfalls to the Tournament’s top two seeds, Maryland and Syracuse.

Entering the 2016 Tournament at 8-6, the Tar Heels ran the table with four straight wins and claimed their first national championship in 25 years with a 14-13 overtime win over the Terps.

Carrying a 6-1 road record this season, the start away from home will not hurt UNC according to head coach Joe Breschi who spoke during ESPNU’s NCAA Selection Show on Sunday.

“I think the guys are thrilled to be on the road, honestly,” Breschi said.

“It’s just exciting to be a part of the NCAA Tournament. I know our guys are looking forward to an enormous challenge against a terrific Albany team. A night game in Albany will be so much fun.”

“To win a national championship is not going to be easy for any team,” Albany head coach Scott Marr added.

“Certainly playing the defending national champions, you really couldn’t ask for more than that. North Carolina is a great team. They’ve had a little up-and-down this year, but Joe’s got them goin’ in the right direction. It should be entertaining for sure.”

2017 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Tournament – First Round

Saturday, May 13

12 p.m. – Towson at No. 7 Penn State

2:30 p.m. – Duke at No.6 Johns Hopkins

5 p.m. – Air Force at No. 5 Denver

7:30 p.m. – North Carolina at No. 8 Albany

Sunday, May 14

12 p.m. – Marquette at No. 4 Notre Dame

2:30 p.m. – Bryant/Monmouth winner at No. 1 Maryland

5 p.m. – Loyola at No. 3 Ohio State

7:30 p.m. – Yale at No. 2 Syracuse